Vance Center Diversity Initiative Receives Key Support from Fordham Law School

The Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice applauds Fordham University School of Law for providing three full-tuition LLM degree scholarships for Afro-Descendent and Indigenous lawyers from Latin America participating in the Vance Center’s TotalLAW Prep program. Additionally, Fordham has offered eight other scholarships for the Legal program, providing TotalLaw Prep candidates with the opportunity to study the foundations of U.S. law and the U.S. legal system while developing legal English and lawyering skills.

Last May, the Vance Center and its partner TalentoTotal launched the TotalLAW Prep Program, a collaboration of law firms, bar associations, law schools and pro bono clearinghouses, to increase diversity and inclusion in the legal profession across the Americas. The initiative aims to create a broad and ethnically diverse leadership pipeline of highly talented Afro-Descendant and Indigenous lawyers from Latin America.

The program provides fellows with personalized guidance and support, focused on selecting and applying for an LLM program in the United States or Europe and afterwards working in an international law firm’s international associate program.

The Vance Center and TalentoTotal recognize and appreciate Fordham Law’s leadership and support to address racial inequality in the legal profession by developing a pipeline for Indigenous and Afro-Descendent Latin American lawyers. They specifically thank Toni Jaeger-Fine, Assistant Dean of International and Non-J.D. Programs and active member of the New York City Bar Association, for her interest in and continued support for the program.

After a competitive process, in July 2020 the initiative selected the first class of eight “candidates” from Brazil, Colombia, Panama, and Venezuela. Members of the Vance Center Committee and the Lawyers Council Antonia Stolper (Shearman & Sterling), Hunter Carter (Arent Fox), Jaime Trujillo (Baker McKenzie), Julissa Reynoso (Winston & Strawn), Lisa Vicens (Cleary), Luciana Tornosvky (Demarest Advogados), Ramon Arias (GALA), Ruti Smithline (Morrison & Foerster), Ted Maynard (Paul Weiss), Veronica Rodriguez (Paul Hastings), and Werner Ahlers (Sullivan & Cromwell) participated in the process.

TotalLaw Prep’s candidates are now working with volunteer mentors from Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Guatemala, Panama, and the United States, completing module assignments, holding mentoring meetings, and developing short- and long-term goals for their ongoing LLM applications. They hope to attend Fordham Law and other U.S. and European law schools in the 2021-22 year.

About the Vance Center
The Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice of the New York City Bar Association advances global justice by engaging lawyers across borders to support civil society and an ethically active legal profession. The Vance Center is a unique collaboration of international lawyers catalyzing public interest innovation that brings together leading law firms and other partners worldwide to pioneer international justice initiatives and provide pro bono legal representation to social justice

About the Association
The mission of the New York City Bar Association, which was founded in 1870 and has 25,000 members, is to equip and mobilize a diverse legal profession to practice with excellence, promote reform of the law, and uphold the rule of law and access to justice in support of a fair society and the public interest in our community, our nation, and throughout the world.